History of the Corps

1880 Moodus Drum and Fife Corps

As our country entered into the 1800's, a noticeable lull in the public's interest in martial music had occurred. Without the excitement and patriotism motivated by war and politics, this proved to be a time of rest and complacency for America. It was during this time, in 1821, when a young Moodus man named Hezekiah Percival completed a course of study in rudimentary drumming. Upon receiving his certificate, Hezekiah returned to Moodus and began to teach some the local men to drum in the style he himself had just mastered. Eyewitness accounts from this time tell us that within ten years a small group of local men began to show up at town events and celebrations throughout East Haddam and East Hampton. These men continued on in this manner until 1860 and the start of the Civil War.

With the start of the war, the country's thirst for martial music in both military and private settings created a demand that would see this group travel up and down the East Coast, participating in celebrations and competitions throughout. During this time numerous articles were written about the Moodus Corps and their powerful style of drumming. Many were from newspapers based in the towns that boasted rival fife and drum organizations. These article's authors were all too willing to give their accounts of the boys from Moodus and the thunderous beat they played.

As the drum was the first instrument to give life to the Moodus Corps (thus the reason for the name), the drums chosen by the early group were made by the Brown Drum Company of Bloomfield, Connecticut. These large, un-baffled rope tensioned drums were played with the heavy, open-stick style of drumming that Percival had mastered in 1821. This slow, methodical beat distinguished them from other musical groups of the time.

Moodus Drum & Fife Corps, P.O. Box 450, Moodus, CT 06469